The Knicks have played 29 games this year, which is 35.3658536585366% of their regular season, which is a good time to check in yet again on their progress.
The last time we checked in the Knicks hadn’t yet embarked on dream week. We were hoping they would fatten up against the likes of Washington, Minnesota and Toronto before playing Denver and they did. And then they beat Denver. And we were all very giddy about the prospect of maybe being able to actually beat a contender or two.
Of course, the Knicks didn’t beat any contenders. It’s nice that Kevin Garnett said those nice things about how the Knicks are one of the few teams capable of really testing their offense. But the Celtics won and the Knicks lost, and I don’t believe in moral victories (Happy I didn’t have to hear a David Lee-esque “best 0-3 week” ever type comment).
The Knicks next got throttled by the Heat and overcome by their own emotion, ennui, and legs in a loss to Cleveland. Then got back on track last night in a resounding victory, perhaps their best of the year, over the first place Oklahoma City Thunder.
I might be able to call a trend here: The Knicks can beat the dregs and the solid playoff teams/.500ish teams, but they don’t stand a shot against a real contender. In a somewhat arbitrary and unscientific way, here are the teams in each category:
Dregs (21 games remaining):
Philadelphia, Toronto, New Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, Washington, Memphis, Minnesota, Golden State, Clippers, Sacramento.
Solid Playoff/.500ish (15 games remaining):
Phoenix, Oklahoma, Denver, Utah, Portland, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, Indiana.
Contenders (17 games remaining):
Lakers, Spurs, Mavs, Heat, Magic, Celtics, Bulls.
Let’s assume in a completely arbitrary and unscientific way that the Knicks can win 65% of their remaining games against the dregs, 50% of their remaining games against the solid playoff/.500ish teams, and 10% of their remaining games against the contenders. That gives the Knicks 14 wins against the dregs, 8 wins against the solid playoff/.500ish teams, and 2 wins against the contenders (I’ve rounded up in each category).
Add that to the 17 wins the Knicks have now and wouldn’t you know it, the Knicks emerge with 41 wins (I swear I didn’t plan this when I assigned the above percentages). Good for a 6-8 seed in the East.